Rockford Park District unveils junior maintenance program

Published: Oct. 24, 2020 at 7:34 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Five area young adults will learn about maintaining park district properties and get paid while doing it. The park district received a grant worth nearly $700,000 to fund the Junior Maintenance Program that members of the Rockford Park District say invests in the youth of the Rockford region.

“One of the areas we wanted to focus on was leadership development but also employment for our youth that age out of our programs," Lamont Jones with the Rockford Park District said.

Five area teens will spend time with maintenance crews with the park district, learning how to care for facilities inside and out. Teens in the program say they are excited to get their hands dirty.

“It’s really good to have something else I can build off of because I love landscaping and I love working," Junior Maintenance Program worker Antione Williams said.

The grant comes from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. State Representative Maurice West advocates for the program and says he hopes this is just the start of good things to come to Rockford teens.

“We are molding and developing future leaders," West said. “We are molding and developing individuals that will turn around and do the same thing for even more young people.”

The park district pairs with 100 Strong, an organization that helps teens learn life skills, board member Virgil Hobson says the participating teens will not only get paid but learn many valuable lessons.

“This is enhancing those skills teaching them you got to get up in the morning and go to work, pay attention to how you do your work, double-check what you are doing, and make sure it is done right and just doing things in an organized way," Hobson said.

For more information on the program visit the Rockford Park District’s website.

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